It's been a while since my last Distancing Diary and I apologise! Like so many others at the moment I have been lacking momentum and feel a little stuck in a rut! But I was throwing creative ideas around in my head and I thought wouldn't it be fun to revisit my past looks and styles and see how my fashion evolved over the years? I'm 25 now and pretty confident in my personal style and my relationship with clothes. I think I have stopped trying to dress the way I think I'm supposed to dress or how society tells me and now I just focus on what brings me joy and sparks creativity. And for me that is bright, fun and bold clothing! So come with me and have a look at how my style has changed and I feel safe to say it all gets better with age!
2009 - 2010
(The Beginning... )
So to be honest with you I decided to star this Style Evolution blog post basically when I set up a Facebook page because that was really when me and my friends started taking photos of each other. I think the moment you start to document everything, sub consciously you start to be more self conscious about what you wear and more generally just how you look.
What I took away from revisiting these old pictures was that I was always trying to dress like someone else, I was yet to find a personal style. I either wanted to dress like the popular older girls at school or like the celebs I saw on TV programmes. This was the age I started to really enjoy shopping and I remember vividly going to get that Topshop grey blazer (pictured on the far right hand corner). My Mum bought it for me and I would crack it out for every occasion, I thought I was the real deal. I think I had a love for vintage inspired pieces but everything was a bit of a mish-mash and I think the braces really added to the outfits! We all have an awkward stage for sure...
2011 - 2013
There were two main style stages during my Sixth Form days. The first stage was when I basically wore American Apparel shiny leggings with a massive secondhand jumper or sweatshirt. That was my go to outfit. I lived in those leggings and thought they were the coolest; I saved up for ages for those £40 leggings. My other style that developed more when I turned 18 was slightly more varied. The photo opposite was taken on school art trip to Paris and I remember feeling really confident in my outfits. For the first time in a while I thought I had found a unique style. But in reality the style was anything and everything from Urban Outfitters. Not entirely original and more what I perceived as 'cool'.
But during this period I also really started to develop a love for charity shopping. I was struggling at school and with my mental health during those two years and my Mum at weekends as a treat would take me to the local secondhand shops and we would have a good rummage. I have such fond memories of those times spent together and a new found approach to shopping that would stay with me for a long time...
2013 - 2014
Well technically I actually spent the most of my gap year completing my Foundation Diploma in Art at the local college but it sounded cooler in my head to imagine myself island hopping on a classic gap year trip. Anyways, I think this year saw my style be a little bit paired back and simple. I was still rocking those leggings, in a variety of colours I may add, and mostly shopped on the high street.
I think for me the main focus of my outfits was any excuse to get my legs out, I don't think I owned a single pair of jeans or trousers! I feel like during this period my love of charity shopping faded slightly and took a backseat to fast fashion. I think I cared too much where I told people I got my clothes from, I wanted to always have the latest styles and that was my main and only focus.
2014 - 2017
(The Uni Years)
This photo was actually taken around my first week at university. My Mum and brother came to visit and I took them to see the college and of course my Mum insisted on a photo of myself outside my new school. Irritated at the time, but now eternally grateful I have this memory to look back on, hindsight such a beautiful thing. I loved this outfit as I look back now and realise the outfit was nearly all made up of all vintage and secondhand.
I definitely think I started to experiment with clothing so much more when I went to University. I moved to South London and I think I felt like I was ready to embrace something new and reinvent myself. Like every student I had limited funds and that was mainly going towards social activities. So when it came to my clothes I headed down to the local charity shops and I was lucky enough that London had plenty! I was spoilt for choice and during those three years I discovered some amazing secondhand shops and really experimented with my own personal style and pushed myself out of my comfort zone.
I think my post University style was really just a little bit confused. I think I had just finished this amazing creative experience and was struggling to know what to do next. I had moved back home, which was definitely an adjustment and I think to make myself feel together and in control I chose to dress a bit older than I was.
I loved monochrome outfits, over the knee boots and denim shorts apparently! This was also the year I discovered buying on eBay. I had always sold my old clothes on there but had yet to buy anything for myself, and it was safe to say I got hooked. I definitely was starting to realise that I didn't need to always go down to the high street to buy my clothing. I was finding amazing things secondhand online and was really starting to embrace the thrifting lifestyle.
This was the year I set up my Instagram page @secondhand_stan and was ready to share my own personal style with others. I was starting to feel confident in my own skin and this was reflecting in how I dressed. I was starting to feel more in charge of my life, I was working three jobs, travelling a lot and making time for myself and my friends. I was really starting to enjoy being in my twenties and navigating my own way and making my own choices.
I can see this was where I really started to embrace colour and pattern. I even experimented and cut my own hair! I was ready to be a bit more out there and stop caring what others though about me and I really do think that only comes with age. If I could tell my younger self that I would confident enough to post photos of myself on a social platform I think I wouldn't have believed you!
And this brings me up to now! And over the last six months I really have found my style sweet spot. Buying secondhand and vintage has allowed me to experiment with my style and be bold with my fashion choices. After leaving a job working in fast fashion I wanted to be part of the positive change and fully embraced sustainable clothing. Getting to meet and interview some amazing sustainable shops and influencers has really inspired me and shown me that there truly is an accessible alternative to fast fashion and I really want to spend my time sharing this with others!
I really hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane and maybe it will inspire you to revisit some old photographs! I found it really inspiring to see how far I'd come and see where it all started.